California AC & Heating, your trusted HVAC service provider in Studio City, CA, is here to discuss an often-overlooked threat to your air conditioner’s health and efficiency. As homeowners, it’s essential to be aware of the potential hazards that could damage your air conditioning system and learn how to prevent them. In this article, we’ll discuss the dangers posed by seemingly harmless fluffy seeds and fallen leaves, and provide some useful tips on how to protect your air conditioning system.

The Unseen Danger: Fluffy Seeds and Fallen Leaves

If your home air conditioner could talk, it might tell you that it despises winter. Surprisingly, even a mild winter like the ones we often experience in Los Angeles can cause significant harm to the outdoor components of your heating and cooling systems. The threat to your air conditioning equipment comes from an unexpected source: fluffy seeds and fallen leaves.

As a child, you may remember making wishes on the fluffy seeds that floated in the air. However, now that you’re a homeowner, you’ll likely wish for those seeds to stay far away from your air conditioning condenser. The attack on your HVAC equipment begins with the fallen leaves that make their way through the grate on top of your outdoor equipment, specifically the AC condenser, which is usually located next to your home or on the roof.

The condenser consists of a coil of tubes that carry refrigerant, with fins made of aluminum blades mounted on the condenser coil. These fins are thin enough to transfer heat rapidly, making them an essential part of your AC system. Leaves that fall into your condenser lay for months against the delicate fins, and rain compresses them into a moldy mess.

When spring arrives, seed pods across Los Angeles burst open, releasing millions of pounds of seeds into the atmosphere. Fluffy, hair-like fibers help the seeds float through the air, giving them a wider range of distribution. These fibers are similar to cotton, and if properly prepared, they can be woven into fabric or used as stuffing. However, these fluffy, fibrous seeds wreak havoc on your air conditioner. AC condenser fins must be kept clean and free of damage for them to function efficiently. Nothing becomes more deeply embedded in the fins or blocks the airflow better than these cottony seeds.

Proper Care for Your Air Conditioner with California AC & Heating

Air conditioning equipment manufacturers require regular professional maintenance to preserve their warranty. At California AC & Heating, we typically recommend two maintenance visits per year to:

  1. Correct refrigerant levels
  2. Seal minor duct leakage in central systems
  3. Standardize airflow through the evaporator coil and interior equipment
  4. Inspect electric terminals, clean and tighten connections, and apply a non-conductive coating if necessary
  5. Lubricate motors and replace belts as needed
  6. Check the accuracy of the thermostat

Sometimes, additional cleaning is needed for the outdoor condenser or evaporative coil to remove the seeds and leaves. We use a non-toxic cleaner that safely and effectively removes caked-on dirt and debris.

A Great Solution for Homeowners in Studio City, CA

Some of our customers at California AC & Heating in Studio City, CA, opt for a vinyl condenser cover during the winter months. These covers are excellent at blocking out the elements that cause damage. However, it’s crucial to remember NOT to use the air conditioner during the occasional hot winter days when you may be tempted to turn on the AC. Condensers need plenty of room for proper airflow, with 18 to 24 inches of side clearance and 4 feet above recommended. If the air conditioner is turned on with a vinyl covering on the condenser, airflow is restricted, and the system may experience failure.

And always remember to call us with any of your Air Conditioning and Heating needs!